West Ham were the most talked about club in the world on Saturday, typically though, for all the wrong reasons. During their 3-0 home loss to high-flying Burnley, the game was marred by a handful of home supporters voicing their frustrations about the club by invading the pitch.
In what was a crazy afternoon for the Hammers, I can’t help but think that the game could have been so different. West Ham in the first half were by far the better side and could have easily found themselves 3-0 up with Manuel Lanzini, Marko Arnautovic and Joao Mario all spurring good chances for the hosts. Having not scored, there was always the worry that West Ham would regret those missed chances and they were certainly made to pay. Burnley asserted their authority in the second half by exploiting the vulnerable, distracted, West Ham defence that seemed to be astounded by the goings-on off the pitch.
Fans knew before the game that this fixture could make or break their season as a win against Sean Dyche’s Burnley side would allow the Hammers to steer further away from the relegation zone. Instead though, West Ham ended with so much more than a 3-0 loss as they’re now just three points away from the bottom three, have a complete divide within the fans and could even face damaging consequences from the deluded action actions of the so called ‘fans’ who ran on the pitch.
On the topic of those who brought it upon themselves to invade the pitch, here are my thoughts on them.
The So Called ‘Fans’
Firstly, I personally would love to know, what did these fans think they would achieve by going onto the pitch because in reality all that it actually did was make sure that West Ham would lose the game. When the first few pitch invaders came on after the first Burnley goal, they didn’t seem to realise that at 1-0, the Hammers still could have easily turned the game around. This can’t be known for sure of course but when fans make idiotic decisions like this, it will never have a good effect on the players.
The West Ham captain Mark Noble took it upon himself to take down one of the first pitch invaders – doing the steward’s job, who were nowhere to be seen. I believe that Noble was right to do this and as he said in his post-match interview: “he has the right to protect himself.”
Fans have the right to demonstrate their feelings and with a lot of anger directed mainly towards the West Ham board, there is a place and a time to present these emotions, going on the pitch and stopping the game certainly isn’t the right thing to do mind you. The fans who went on the pitch deserve all the action that is taken against them and more in my opinion.
The fuel to the fire – No march
For a while, West Ham fans were preparing to get their voices heard when protesting against the board before the game on Saturday.
The Real West Ham fan action group, the group responsible for coming up with the idea made a complete u-turn to march when speaking to the West Ham board face-to-face and subsequently called off their march. This wasn’t taken well by fans as they feel the group backed down too easily and believed in everything the board said. The fact is that West Ham were “sold a dream and delivered a nightmare” when moving to the London Stadium because instead of moving to compete for European football like David Gold and Sullivan told us, West Ham have ended up worse off and yet it could still get a lot worse.
Rightly so though, at the start of the game, fans put their beliefs to one side to commemorate the legend that is Bobby Moore, 25 years after his passing. At the start of the game, fans were united in singing and backing their team but when the goals started flying in from the away side, the march happened right here at the London Stadium. Hundreds of fans gathered beneath where the board of directors sit to watch the game to make their feelings vocally and physically clear.
There were fights breaking out between the Hammers own supporters and the whole stadium turned completely toxic. Fans are completely right to protest because Gold, Sullivan and Brady have not put their money where their mouth is and instead continued to talk about who they could of signed but eventually didn’t. The fans are finished with the lies and demand change at the very top of their club.
What now for West Ham?
Conveniently, West Ham’s collapse and 3-0 loss earned the players a trip to Miami for warm weather training. The players now have until the 31st March to sort themselves out and make sure that they survive the drop. Their next game is at home to Southampton and this game could well be considered one of the most important in the recent history of the club. Lose the game and fans will admit that they can’t see where the points will come from but a win could give the Hammers the confidence they need to rescue this historic club from the depths of despair.
No matter the divide in thoughts, at this current stage of the season with West Ham hoping to stay in the Premier League, fans need to forget about making their voices heard and instead back their team the best they possibly can. As a West Ham fan myself, I know that we don’t expect to be challenging for the Premier League but on the other hand we also don’t want to battle relegation.
What remains the same though, is that the fans love this club and at this time, West Ham MUST remain United to forget the darkest day in their recent history.